Duct Opening 7.04.04


What an interesting morning it was! I'm still in shock, took me by surprise.

I had rain up here yesterday and localised conditions right after. I thought there could be a possibility of more localised conditions this morning. I had not really studied the MSLP maps, I did look at Hepburn and thought it did not look very good as the colours were not that good.

I had the radio going here all night as usual, set up on Renmark TV audio with the sql set to S9+40. Nothing came through all night. I also have the small mobile rig running set up on a 5/8th at roof height. Still half asleep at about 7am I noticed the VK5 SE links interfereing with Yarrawonga and Shepparton and I thought "must be something going on".

I stayed in bed as Renmark TV was not breaking sql.

Next I hear a weak signal from VK5UBC calling on one of the SE links I think, very noisy. So I got up and checked Renmark TV which was only S6. Tried to call Brian on SE links, not real successful, turned antenna to Ararat, called Brian there and he came up, noisy, but readable.

Brian asked to try Yarrawonga 147.200 and I said "nah, you wont get into it, Im not even hearing Renmark TV". But we went there anyway, sure enough, Brian was there but noisy.

Weather here was a cool 11 degC with heavy fog, first fog for the year. No wind.

Brian asked me if I had tried any Adelaide repeaters and I said no, I haven't bothered as Renmark TV is not very strong. All the time Brians signal was getting better and better through Yarrawonga. Brian said he would give me a call on Murray Bridge 146.875 (733 km from here), I was reluctant, but I said OK and turned the antenna's that way.

I kept the power level where it was, about 20 watts, and casually hit the PTT, expecting nothing to come back. To my surprise, back came the Murray Bridge I.D at S9!!!! I almost fell over backwards! I couldn't believe the repeater was S9 and Renmark TV was only S5 or 6. Admittedly Renmark TV is about 200 km to the NW of Murray Bridge, but its always a good indicator of conditions............not this time.

At one stage there, conditions were very much providing better signals in the southern Adelaide area and Kangaroo Isl. I believe when this when the duct was at its lowest decent. I have most duct readings along the path.

Once I was on Murray Bridge, VK5MM came up, then Brian.

For some silly reason I couldn't seem to get Crafers 147.000 it was just dead. I eventually worked out the silly reason was I had the offset set to + not -. Change of offset and away it went.

So this was great, and will probably teach me to monitor the Adelaide beacon rather than Renmark TV.

I saw the Adelaide 2m beacon on 144.450 up to S9+20dB when things peaked.

I went to 144.100 on SSB earlier on and was able to work VK5ZK, VK3LY, VK5UBC, VK5ACY.

No other stations about so I returned to FM.

There was all sorts of things going on. I think I may have worked VK5TZX mobile at Adelaide on the 438.125 Summertown repeater. This repeater is 760 km away and at its peak I saw it at S9+50dB!! amazing.

I could get most of the Adelaide 70cm devices that I have worked before and could not get over the back to Port Lincoln at all, on 70 or 2.

Same goes for Cowell, Port Augusta and Port Pirie. I heard a hint of the Central North repeater at one stage but that was all.

Myself, VK5ZK, VK5ACY, VK5ZPS were on the logger for a while and I sent Garry a message and asked him to meet me on 146.675 (Willunga Hill) as this was a close one to him and I could get it about S9. Garry came up and we had a bit of a chat, very nice and clear. We eventually had a great little group going of people who heard us talking. VK5ZK, VK5KBJ, VK5ZPS, VK5YX, VK5AUE. I noticed Bill sitting on the logger and as we were all talking I just said "leave a break for a sec I think Bill VK5ACY may be listening" ..........sure enough up came Bill over on Kangaroo Island to join the increasing group. It was great to catch up.

I had a listen for these stations on reverse (direct) when each was talking. I found (surprisingly) that I could hear Garry VK5ZK on reverse about 5/5 signal. We excused ourselves from the group and tried on 146.500 for a FM
simplex contact. Yep no worries, GArry was still 5/5 here and I was something similar or maybe a bit less his end. Garry couldn't believe we were getting through, he was running a 5/8 wave stick at 30ft with 30w. At this stage he began to get
a bit worried about his SSB set up and he was amazed that we were getting through over 754 km with such a simple set up at Garry's end. We did try 70cm but it was no go (though I did work VK3XDJ mobile somewhere in VK3 while he was driving over a hill, then I lost him).

I spoke to a number of other stations and at about 11am I decided enough was enough. Went for a walk (2km) to get the mail, came back home checked the radio again still going..........

At 1.00pm my time I found Shane VK5NRV mobile on the Murray Bridge repeater. We spoke till about 1.15pm when Shane had to get out of the car. The repeater was weak S5 and I had to use 100 w to get to it, but it was workable.

Then tried Crafers which was still S5 at about 1.30pm. Last access was a brief hit to Murray Bridge at about 1.50 pm.

Interesting morning and thanks to Brian for getting me to try Murray Bridge earlier on.
This VHF and above stuff will shock you every time! great stuff.


Leigh VK2KRR